how to get my 5yr old to not be scared of the dark, and stay in her bed @ night

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Jada - posted on 04/17/2012

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depending on whether she is emotional or logical will depend on how you approach this. with one of my girls, monster spray worked wonders (any air freshener)...with another, a night light...with the last, simply reviewing where all her belongings lay prior to turning off the lights helped. in addition, there are no closet doors...so no places for dark shadows to hide (or fingers to get pinched). ask you daughter what she fears specifically...and help her determine what would be best for HER to resolve the concern. if she is part of the solution, she is more likely to stick to her guns and be able to problem solve independently as she matures.

Corena - posted on 04/17/2012

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We put glow in the dark stars and stuff in my sons room. He can't wait for the light to go out so he can see them shine.
Please don't do the tv...even if they fall asleep watching it, it keeps their brains too active while they are sleeping and they don't get enough proper sleep.

Katherine - posted on 04/17/2012

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Melatonin, talk to your doctor about it. It works wonders. It's all natural.

Kelly - posted on 04/17/2012

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My sister also put pictures of bears up all through her house and told her girls that monsters were afraid of bears, so they wouldn't come in if there were bears around.

April - posted on 04/17/2012

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Sometimes, its the little noises that happen in a house that they hear and think are scary. Maybe try a combination of a night light and a small mp3 player with speakers, or even a tv. Just something to keep some light in the room so that things don't look as creepy, and something to block out the little household noises.

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Jennifer - posted on 07/23/2013

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i put lavender sents in a bottle and sprayed it around everywhere he said he saw a monster or ect,,, told him they dont like the smell it scares them way ,,, i for out that not much will sooth them

[deleted account]

I beat the tar out of the monsters. My friend (my son's godmother) was visiting and he was so scared. I think he coudln't have been more than 5 or 6. I finally asked him what was there. There were monsters in the closet. "Oh really," I said. "Well they're not going to be around for long kiddo!" I growled and told him to sit with his Auntie. I then rolled up my sleeves and charged into his bedroom, shutting the door behind. I made a ruckus and was yelling things like, "you bothering my boy? I'm gonna teach you the meaning of loss!"

I came out a few minutes later, dusted my pants off and calmly said, "The monters are deeply apologetic for their behavior and are now on their way to monster hospital." He ran to me and hugged me so tight and said, "Mama can beat anyone!" We then installed (just in case they dared come back) a lava lamp because monsters are terrified of them plus I felt it would be mesmerizing enough to watch till he slept. I also got a bottle of lavender spray (real lavender not that weird stuff that glade calls lavender). To this day, he sprays his linens with similar stuff becuase it makes him feel safe (even though he knows there are no monsters anymore.)

So that's my idea. You just have to be a good actress.

Faye - posted on 04/25/2012

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We bought a twin pack of the cheap flashlights. We made sure we also had plenty of batteries. Plus I used a water spray bottle as our "monster spray". Brother's crib was in front of the closet door (small room and house) so no worries of the monster coming out of the closet.

Penny - posted on 04/18/2012

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my son did the same thing, we wen to home depot and bought a night lite that changes colors so he could choose the color he wants every night, that helped him go to sleep, plus we have some white noise going on and we chose a small fan for him. good luck witht that.

Jessica - posted on 04/18/2012

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Our 4 year old has a nightlight, white noise maker and stuffed animals in his bed including a REALLY big one that takes up the whole toddler bed (I saved up and bought it when I was a kid). The white noise takes care of household noises, nightlight lets him see around (though sometimes I wonder if it helps or exacerbates the problem since he can see things, but because of the shadows they're distorted. We explained how the toys watch over and keep him safe by coming alive and protecting their kid like in Toy Story, which he liked and we also asked him if he knew any bad monsters. "There's monsters on sesame street, in Monster Incorperated (where they fire and banish the mean ones and now those ones only want kids to laugh)" and a few other shows/movies with good monsters to show him that, although there are no monsters in our house, monsters like to be nice. That and we also told him blankets were for hiding and camaflouging in your bed so nothing bad can see you, and he liked that too. Inexplicably the biggest change in his night time visits was "Big Ben" the gigantic stuffed dog laying on top of him like another blanket (with his head free) that alltogether stopped him waking in the night completely. I remember sleeping under him the same way because our bedroom was too small (about the size of a big bathroom) and with bunk bed, dresser, shelves and desk the only free space was my bed. There was a sense of security and accompaniment that came with the dog's weight on me as I was sleeping. I felt like someone else was sleeping with me and that nothing bad could possibly see me under something so big.

All in all, I would read all of these methods and keep trying different things until you find what works :)

Rapshirl - posted on 04/18/2012

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My first two girls did the same to me. They would always end up in my bed. My youngest, however, did not. I just prayed with her and for her every night, She would go right to sleep, and insisted that I prayed with her if I forgot.

Misty - posted on 04/18/2012

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Hi there as a mom of 5 I know how difficult this can be. When we have had a situation like this we try to not make them feel badly. We have found the best thing to do is to is talk to them about how safe they are and how mom and dad aren't going to let anything bad happen to them. With 5 kids we have had 5 different ways to handle the situation. Our oldest son took a small flash light to be with him for a short time and that seemed to do the trick. Our oldest daughter wanted the curtain pulled back so the yard light would shine in, the middle two share a room and they like daddy to tuck them in and then turn on their closet door and leave it open just a little bit. Our youngest has a small fan and also likes the closet light on with the closet door cracked open just a bit. The one thing I know is that this to shall pass and eventually the scared of the dark feeling will be gone. Our two older children are now 20 and 10 and have no real fears of the dark :) The other 3 kiddos are 7, 5, and 3 and there day will come to, but for now these easy remedies help them and me get a great nights sleep.

Alicia - posted on 04/18/2012

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We have used "monster spray"....just our hand and spraying sounds. He loved it! His preschool teachers also had him make his "shadow" (he was afraid of the shadows his nightlight made, but insisted on having it). They traced him on a large sheet of paper and he drew his face and clothes (at age 3), and we hung his "shadow" next to his bed to remind him shadows are not scary. His shadow took care of him through the night so he could sleep. It worked like a charm! We also had purchased a glow nightlight that was "softer" and could go in his bed with him. A fan in the hallway helps with the noises too. He is 4.5 years old now and is a wonderful little sleeper. Good luck!

Shannon - posted on 04/18/2012

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I feel your pain...when my eldest finally outgrew night terrors (mostly) she began with the normal waking up, scared etc. This is we did...hopefully you can take something helpful from it.
I found the lullaby music (classical music designed to soothe babies to sleep) that I had used to play her to help soothe her night terrors worked a treat in conjunction with a night light. The key though was to let her take charge of soothing herself by showing her how to start the CD herself if she woke in the night and needed help to feel safe and get back to sleep.
At first she would still come to my bed and I would give her a hug and assure her I would come and check her later, but she needed to go back to bed and start her music. This progressed till we would simply hear the music start up throughout the night, until now when it is a rarity to hear it and she only comes into our room for a quick hug if she has had a particularly upsetting dream, but she always takes herself back to bed.
We also discussed 'monsters' during the day when she was happy and not upset and I found that what worked well was not fighting the concept that they are 'real' to her, but instead assuring her very firmly that I am in charge of this house and I simply DO NOT ALLOW MONSTERS IN MY HOUSE, so she does not have to worry at night, because they are not allowed in (this also used to make her giggle as I'd put on my best 'tough' face)
Later when she began to understand some things weren't real...like cartoon characters etc, we finally talked about how monsters also were not real, but rather our imagination running wild.

Kirsten - posted on 04/18/2012

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Our daughter who is nearly 5 goes thru night waking when she is stressed or upset about something. We often put up with it but we did try night light, a dream catcher for when she was having nightmares, a mosquito net when a fear of bugs and spiders. Now we sit outside her room while she goes to sleep so she knows we are nearby. We did use bribery and that was most effective! She wanted to be moshi monster member like her big sister so after a week staying in her own bed she got it. Now if she starts trying to regularly get up during the night we let her know we'll have to cancel her membership (this was part of the original negotiations!). So far she is going well for quite a few months now. Few disruptions when started back at kinder but only for few nights. Good luck!

Maggie - posted on 04/17/2012

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Those of you with kids afraid of the dark, Where they always afraid of the dark or did this happen later? My 16 month old seems unscared and it freaks me out a bit. She will close door and leave herself in dark rooms, she will get in a small laundry closet in our hallway and close herself in. I can turn out lights and hope she will walk out of the room, but no luck. At bed time she will lay in bed with no lights at all. She does the same when out of the house. She also loves shadows. I was sitting in her room with her once and a bit of light was coming in from a light post outside and we made shadows with our hands for a goodwhile before she fell to sleep. Ocasionally if I dont put down the cutains, I will see her making shadows while she trys to fall to sleep. Another thing I have never done and hopefully dont do is tell her in a spooky voice to get out of a room because there is a gohst in there, the boogieman, or a monster. I have seen many parents do this in hopes there kids will listen and stop what they are doing or get out of a room, ect.. (Do any of you do this?) Im Just curious if it can change? Was you Child always scared of the dark?

Mandy - posted on 04/17/2012

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I told my child (9) if she stays in her bed for 3 weeks i would buy her a kitten that will sleep with her. She pushed herself as she badly wanted the kitten - she proved to herself and us that she can do it and gained the confidence and now has a kitten to sleep with.... your child probably also just needs to push himself/herself a little too.

Jen - posted on 04/17/2012

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Our pediatrican told us that it's very common for 4-5 year olds to start being afraid of the dark and having scary dreams. I have a 5 year old who gets scared sometimes. I've done a number of things for him that have already been suggested in other posts: he has is own flashlight by his bed, a couple of small night lights in his room, and a white noise maker. He also has a pillow my mom made for him that I told him is full of Grandma Hugs, so when he gets scared he can hug it. I think having his stuffed animals nearby helps too. I haven't tried the monster spray idea, but I think it's a great suggestion!

Candice - posted on 04/17/2012

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I am going thru the same thing with BOTH my boys (3 yrs. & 22 mos.) I do not know they are in my bed most mights until I wake up in the morning. I thought I was the only one, lol. Anyone have any ideas/ tips?

Candice - posted on 04/17/2012

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I LOVE Melatonin for my little one's. It does work really well. Both my boys get it. The only reason both is because my 3 yr. old has Childhood Insomnia & keeps my 22 month old up.

Kristina - posted on 04/17/2012

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My daughter, 3 1/2 has always been afraid of the dark.. A nightlight has never been enough...she also sleeps with her lamp on also. Ever since my son was born 9 months ago she has ended up in our bed in the middle of the night. We always said that when we move the baby into his own room (which we did 4 months ago) we would work on keeping the 3 1/2 year old in her's. Problem is we almost never hear her because my husband and i are pretty heavy sleepers so we don't even know that she came into our bed until the morning. We are also trying to figure out how to break this,

Michelle - posted on 04/17/2012

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If my son comes into my room in the middle of the night I remind him that mommy and daddy need time alone and I bring him pee. (without too much talking so he doesnt get too alert) then I bring him back to his room. He still gets upset sometimes, but goes back to sleep. :)

Kelly - posted on 04/17/2012

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My 2 yr old used to come into me 5 or 6 times a night, constantly putting him back in his bed, my partner went away for the week for work, and I just let Tyler stay there. And the night after he stayed all night in his bed, has since *shrugs* I have NO idea what changed his mind about coming into me lol.

Michelle - posted on 04/17/2012

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I developed a routine with my son...at bedtime we would talk about his day so he could unload and destress, and then read two small books of his choice. If he was still awake when the books were over I told him what I was going to do while he "rested" his eyes. (IE. wash the dishes or take a shower) Since his room is right next to the bath room and just down the hall from the kitchen, whichever I happened to be doing, he could hear me and knew I wasnt far off. He falls asleep in minutes now. My son also has a flashlight next to his bed and "white noise" in his room. ( a fan works well in the summer, or a radio in the winter)

Jennifer - posted on 04/17/2012

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i tell my son that to but he just say but if my eyes r open then i see dark haha i told him WELL they should be closed, he was like WELL if they were closed, i wouldnt be awake and talk to you and being afraid aaammmmm lol

Jennifer - posted on 04/17/2012

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I think at any age a kid/ person can say there afraid but some kids don't even know what afraid is
monster stray is cool just make sure you put it i a different stray bottle and just put like lavender sense in it and ask the kid where the sound / scarey coming from the stars on the wall or a mmm light that go's around in circles its bright but see my son is 9 and he trys to pull that and its just to stay up later sleeping with them just makes more problems and letting them sleep with you is worse they have to grow up to and mommy and daddy need time alone and not have to wonder when they gonna have to stop something if you get what i mean lol

Liz - posted on 04/17/2012

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When I was little, my mom got a plushie monster and put it under my bed, telling me that this 'friendly monster' would keep all the other ones away. Worked like a charm.

User - posted on 04/17/2012

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have you asked her what she is afraid of? It's not the "dark" but something she believes about the dark.

Heather - posted on 04/17/2012

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I haven't faced this with my children (ages 2 and 1) yet because they still use the night light, but I do remember what my daddy did for me and my sister. He sat us on the bed and got us to look in a mirror. He said, "what do you see?" We started naming everything in the room. Next he turned out the light and asked the same question. Our reply: "nothing." To which he replied "exactly. There is nothing in the dark." After that, neither of us was scared anymore because we new there was NOTHING in the dark.

Kelly - posted on 04/17/2012

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We had my DD draw a wanted to poster of the "Monster" in her closet , then hung it on her door, we also made up some "monster spray" and every night for a week my hubby went in and sprayed for the monster named Bob.



She was 4 at the time and it worked

Jackie - posted on 04/17/2012

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My 6 year old is afraid of the dark too. He has his stuffed animals that "protect" him, he also has his own flash light to use if he gets scard or needs to get up to go to the bathroom. It has also helped him to not face the door. We talk a lot about things that scar him, and that his dad and I get scared some time too. I'm 27 and I still don't like the dark!! Lol I would try asking her what will make her feel better? Maybe if she picks out her very own special flash light or something like that she might feel better. I also like the idea of the monster spray that one of the other moms said. What if she makes her own NO MONSTERS ALLOWED sign? Good luck!!!

[deleted account]

I went through a stage at 5 years old. my mom worked nights and my babysitter at the time made me watch chuckie childs play movies for my bedtime. needless to say i was terrified of the dark.. I was scared to tell anyone and slept at random times during the day.. my mom finally just started letting me sleep in bed with her until my night terrors went away. then I went back to my own bed.

Aimee - posted on 04/17/2012

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I have three children, ages 6, 5, and 4. They all say they are scared of the dark. Mainly, the little one but we went out and bought them a night light for in their rooms. But, that didn't work so they each have a TV in their bedrooms and we let them fall asleep with their TV's on. The TV seems to light up the entire room so it's not dark. When my husband and I get ready for bed, one of us goes into each of their rooms and turns the TVs off. It definitely seemed to help them. They now go to sleep just fine, no more crying about being scared.

However, sleeping in their bed all night long is a different story. I too have this problem. I only have a full-size bed and most nights my oldest is the first to get in my bed with my husband and I. The other two will come in and sleep on the bedroom floor, just so they are in our bedroom. Not sure if there's something to help that or not. Will definitely be reading this post to see if anyone has solutions to this problem.

[deleted account]

quiet background music, sort of soft white noise.....my grandbaby was having nightmares, until I gave her my dream catcher and told her what it does, now she goes to bed without any fear.

Heather - posted on 04/17/2012

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First off acknowledge her, get on her level, and understand her without judging. Then it will be easier to get her talking so you can find out what the triggers are. The next night talk about them, point them out (or listen for them) in the light, then turn off the lights together to point them out or listen to the scary things, and do this for a few nights to help her rationalize her fears away a bit. Also offer a nightlight that she picks out, noise machine, and glow in the dark stars for her wall, ceiling, etc. If its time to get her a new bed consider a canopy or curtain bed that is more enclosing :)



Good Luck, you can do it!

~GotNewborns.com

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